CHICAGO – Heavily bundled Midwesterners were shuffling quickly from place to place in a bid to spend as little time as possible outside in bone-chilling, subzero cold that was expected to last through Monday morning.
The big freeze was expected to last through Monday morning, the first full day of the official winter season, when wind chill advisories for the region were to expire. Snowfall was scant after the frigid air mass rolled in, but ice and high winds whipped up snow along roadways and made driving hazardous for holiday travelers. But the worst danger was from the cold — exacerbated by 20-to-30 mph winds that drove wind chills to 25 degrees below zero, or even lower, according to the National Weather Service.
Monday morning commuters in Dayton, Ohio, were greeted with zero-degree temperatures, the National Weather Service reported. It was in the single digits in Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus. The gusty winds and cold also added to power-outage headaches, with more than 7,100 Ameren customers without power Sunday night, mostly in the Peoria area. In northwest Ohio, about 5,000 homes were without power. "We have a blizzard. We just can't see anything," said Sheila Hyde, an emergency dispatcher for Ottawa County along the hard-hit Lake Michigan shoreline. "I think people have finally figured it out and are staying home."
Authorities in Boston, no stranger to chilly weather, canceled public schools Monday and Tuesday in the face of an overnight freeze and wind gusts of up to 50 mph. In North Dakota, the National Weather Service said Bismarck was on track to break a 1916 record for snowfall in December. The city has had 19 inches of snow so far this month, and with 4 more expected Monday night, the record of 21.7 inches could be shattered.
Associated Press writers Carla K. Johnson and Megan Reichgott in Chicago, Amy Lorentz in Des Moines, Iowa, and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.
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